Los Angeles, CA (CNS) – Rome’s couturiers are cash-strapped and the Italian government just might save them. Italy is planning a financial bailout for the struggling fashion industry. The Italian clothing industry began looking for a government bailout amidst a financial crisis where even the super-rich have cut back on their haute fashion. Now, the Italian minister of economic development Claudio Scajola says help is on the way.
Scajola promises that the “first interventions” for the industry will be presented by mid-March. Details of the government assist have not been revealed but Italy gave $15 billion to the fledgling banks and another $1.7 billion to Italian carmakers recently. Italian fashion houses hope they’re the next in line for that aid.
“Orders have been blocked for a month and a half. The situation is explosive,” said Michele Tronconi, head of the Italian Textile and Fashion Federation. The Italian fashion industry reportedly employs over 80,000 people and is home to over 30,000 distribution companies.
Stefano Dominella, chairman for one of Italy’s biggest fashion houses Gattinoni, says their sales dropped over 40% last year. “Until about two years ago you could just about maintain an atelier,” he said. “But the crisis has dealt us the final blow.”